My brother died today. Well, he's actually been dead a day or two. The brain scan was flat--a straight line. Kent's body "lives" only via machines. They will be turned off later today. I loved this brother of mine. We share an abusive father and a middle name. Kent was there for me during the most difficult time of my younger life. No woman could have had a better brother. We met late in life. I was a teenager; he was grown. Our connection was immediate, deep and strong. The years and family drama often separated us for long periods of time, but we remained deeply connected at the heart and in the mind.
Last Saturday, he sent a one line email. "Having surgery on Tuesday. Wish me luck." It was such an unusual gesture that I called him a few days later. We laughed, talked about the surgery, and I reminded him that "only the good die young." He laughed again.
He was fine immediately after the surgery. Talked to his daughters. Tried to walk a bit. He was moving out of ICU into another room. Suddenly; without warning, he collapsed. And now we prepare for his services.
I didn't know that I'd be so sad. I've been consumed with goodbyes, partings and "bon voyages," but this is not a journey I expected. I've decided to leave before I take my extended leave to attend my brother's funeral. I feel no obligation. What I feel is the desire to participate in the formal ritual that celebrates his life. I feel the strongest desire to be with his daughters--my nieces whom I barely know and express my love for their father and for them. My nieces just lost their mother two months ago. Death is cruel. I want to hug his 90+ year old mother, who has now lost two of her three children, and thank her for sharing those children with me. I want to stand with our sister, who now faces life without the siblings with whom she grew.
Perhaps the good DO die young. Perhaps they do. Rest in peace, James Kent Jordan, III. Rest in peace my dearest brother. I am so very grateful to have known and loved you.